Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Western Rock Nuthatch (Sitta neumayer) - HBW 13, p. 141

French: Sittelle de Neumayer German: Felsenkleiber Spanish: Trepador Rupestre Occidental
Other common names: (Lesser) Rock/Neumayer’s Nuthatch; Syrian Rock Nuthatch (syriaca)

Taxonomy: Sitta neumayer Michahelles, 1830, Ragusa (= Dubrovnik), Dalmatia, Croatia.
Closely related to S. tephronota, the two together often considered an offshoot of “S. europaea group”, the harsh aggressive call and nest details suggesting particularly close relationship with S. cashmirensis. They probably became fully ecologically isolated from each other when geographically separated, present species adapting to a Mediterranean climate and S. tephronota to more continental conditions (with colder winters and hotter summers) that favoured a larger body and bill. When coming into contact again, in S Iran, a process of what i.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Sitta neumayer Michahelles, 1830, Ragusa (= Dubrovnik), Dalmatia, Croatia.
Closely related to S. tephronota, the two together often considered an offshoot of “S. europaea group”, the harsh aggressive call and nest details suggesting particularly close relationship with S. cashmirensis. They probably became fully ecologically isolated from each other when geographically separated, present species adapting to a Mediterranean climate and S. tephronota to more continental conditions (with colder winters and hotter summers) that favoured a larger body and bill. When coming into contact again, in S Iran, a process of what is termed “character displacement” selected for a bolder eyestripe and even larger body size in S. tephronota; overlap zone in N Iran may be more recent, and the two species may not have diverged sufficiently to permit altitudinal coexistence. Race syriaca intergrades with zarudnyi in CS Turkey (Taurus Mts) and with rupicola in E Turkey and Georgia; rupicola probably intergrades with tschitscherini in NW Iran (approximately from Mahabad S to Kermanshah). Birds of this species on Lesbos (E Greece) of uncertain racial identity, provisionally included in zarudnyi; others of this species in N & NE Turkey (E from Istanbul and N of Aras valley) and NC & NE Iran (E of Elburz Mts, and S of that range to Qom and Kavir) similarly of uncertain racial affiliation, provisionally included in rupicola. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • neumayer Michahelles, 1830 - SE Europe in W Croatia (SE from Crikvenica), S Bosnia, Montenegro, S Serbia, Albania, S Macedonia, S Bulgaria and Greece (including islands of Corfu, Lefkada and Zakynthos).
  • zarudnyi Buturlin, 1907 - Lesbos (E Greece) and W Turkey (W Anatolia and NW fringe of C plateau E to Elmali and Ankara and, in S, to Taurus Mts).
  • syriaca Temminck, 1835 - SE Turkey E from Taurus Mts (absent S lowlands between R Firat and R Tigris), NW Syria (S to Damascus region), mountains of Lebanon and extreme N Israel (Mt Hermon).

     See all 6 subspecies
  • neumayer Michahelles, 1830 - SE Europe in W Croatia (SE from Crikvenica), S Bosnia, Montenegro, S Serbia, Albania, S Macedonia, S Bulgaria and Greece (including islands of Corfu, Lefkada and Zakynthos).
  • zarudnyi Buturlin, 1907 - Lesbos (E Greece) and W Turkey (W Anatolia and NW fringe of C plateau E to Elmali and Ankara and, in S, to Taurus Mts).
  • syriaca Temminck, 1835 - SE Turkey E from Taurus Mts (absent S lowlands between R Firat and R Tigris), NW Syria (S to Damascus region), mountains of Lebanon and extreme N Israel (Mt Hermon).
  • rupicola Blanford, 1873 - N & NE Turkey (E from Istanbul, N of Aras valley), S Georgia (S from S foothills of Great Caucasus), Armenia and SW & NE Azerbaijan (including Samaxi, in E foothills of Caucasus) S to N Iraq and NW & N Iran (E through Elburz Mts to Bojnurd, S to Kermanshah region, Qom and Kavir).
  • tschitscherini Zarudny, 1904 - W & WC Iran in Zagros Mts (from Kermanshah SE to Fars) and mountains S of Qom (SE to Anarak massif).
  • plumbea Koelz, 1950 - SC Iran (mountains of S Kerman Province).